VERONA, Va. (WHSV)-- It's an ongoing issue that's sparked protests across the nation and now it's found it's way home to the valley.
According to anti-immigration group, Numbers USA, many children who've entered this country illegally are being held in Verona.
As many as 24 children who entered this country illegally are being held at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center. The center has held a federal contract for years to hold minors who enter the country illegally.
Jen Smyers works for Church World Service, which is an organization that helps immigrants adapt to life in America. She says these children face harsh realities if they're sent back to their homes countries.
"I'm not sure if these protesters really understand that if we turn these children away, if we do not welcome these children, they will be sent back to situations of human trafficking and to situations of violence and harm," said Smyers.
She says that we should try to help them find a better life here in America, as many flee because of war.
"I think we need to ask ourselves how we can assist them in a very difficult time, how we can provide resources to them, donations, how we can visit with them, and make sure their emotional well-being is looked after," said Smyers.
The issue has already sparked responses from people here in the Valley. An anti-immigration group will hold a protest Jul. 19 at 11a.m. at the route 612 overpass in Verona.
On Jul. 18, Congressman Goodlatte announced that he introduced a bill which subjects illegal immigrants to be sent back to their home countries and will give border patrol agents tools to apprehend and send illegal aliens back to their own countries.
There is the possibility the children being held in Verona could be deported, but people like Smyers say they plan to help these children seek asylum.
Members of the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party Patriots will speak about the issue at the next board of supervisors meeting on Jul. 23 at 7 p.m.
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